Why, one might ask, in all the Catholic news coverage of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s recent essay on the roots of the abuse crisis, did not anyone liberal or conservative, orthodox or “progressive,” mention his main message. That was love.
Answer: it is contrary to the current zeitgeist.
Now, hear this: it’s almost understandable to be in a perpetual state of antagonism. Not to be political (which we assiduously try to stay clear of, seeing evil on all sides), but let’s face it: so many of the liberals, the “progressives,” have morphed into Christian enemies. They hold abortion — that is, a woman’s “right” to kill a baby — as their insignia, their coat of arms, their battle cry. That’s reprehensible. It indicates spiritual blindness at a level that perhaps has not been seen since the Roman Empire — if then. They hold sodomy as not only a right, but almost a sacrament. And one day, they will instigate a persecution. It’s in the wind. You can sense it.
But the exact wrong way to approach it is through anger, insult, and hate.
While it seems heroic to declare war — to raise battleaxe at every turn — rarely is a spiritual war won with rancor. That’s a deception of the enemy. It causes aridity — lukewarm spirituality (the insults replace prayer). It turns Christian hearts to stone. The sharpest sword is the spiritual one.
Jesus said that. And there’s Exodus 23:2: “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.”
You can’t follow a culture that doesn’t follow God if you want to be led by the Holy Spirit.
Yet that’s how it is currently being fought: with harsh words instead of deep prayer.
So many have adopted the world’s way of waging battle, taking their cue from the current culture of vitriol instead of from Jesus (see Matthew 26:51). We must fight hard. The battle is intense — becoming more so. The blurring of genders and associated “progressive” trends are a horror to behold. But ask: How did Jesus defeat the evil in His time? How did His disciples?
The battling has transferred to the Church. Instead of at least mentioning Benedict’s chief message, there was carping, when it came out, from both liberals and conservatives.
The former Pontiff’s words were weaponized.
Yet here is what Benedict — certainly a conservative — said:
“First, I would suggest the following: If we really wanted to summarize very briefly the content of the Faith as laid down in the Bible, we might do so by saying that the Lord has initiated a narrative of love with us and wants to subsume all creation in it. The counterforce against evil, which threatens us and the whole world, can ultimately only consist in our entering into this love. It is the real counterforce against evil. The power of evil arises from our refusal to love God. He who entrusts himself to the love of God is redeemed. Our being not redeemed is a consequence of our inability to love God. Learning to love God is therefore the path of human redemption.”
Note the photo to the right, how an image of John Paul the Great seemed to glow after prayer. How did he bring down Communism? Was it with tanks and caustic diatribes — or prayer (he spent three hours a day praying)?
John Paul the Great. And Benedict XVI. Are there serious problems in the Church? No question — in virtually every rectory and diocese that has a worldly way; also, in Rome.
But in attempting to foment division, many missed the last paragraph of the essay by Pope Benedict, who like all Pontiffs seeks unity: “At the end of my reflections I would like to thank Pope Francis for everything he does to show us, again and again, the light of God, which has not disappeared, even today.”